Turkish Airlines invest in fleet upgrade to start 4 new routes in 2020

TURKISH Airlines will launch four new routes this year amid plans to expand and upgrade its fleet with next-generation aircraft while replacing older models

06 January 2020 - 19:00
TURKISH Airlines will launch four new routes this year amid plans to expand and upgrade its fleet with next-generation aircraft while replacing older models.

'We finished all procedures to launch flights to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, Tokyo's Haneda Airport, Newark, New Jersey, and Vancouver, Canada in 2019,' said chairman of Turkey's flag carrier Ilker Ayci, who added that now they are just waiting for the necessary permits.

Beside new destinations, he said the carrier will also concentrate on frequency depth, he added, reported Istanbul-Anadolu Agency.

After starting service to 10 new international routes in 2019, the airline finished the year flying to a total of 318 cities in 126 countries, Mr Ayci noted.

Calling the airlines' big switch in April from Ataturk airport to the new mega-Istanbul airport its biggest move in 2019. 'Turkish Airlines had to have a strong infrastructure, one supporting its growth, in order to achieve its goals without interruption,' he said.

Istanbul airport, the 'world's new hub', officially opened on October 29 2018. With the completion of all four phases with six runways by 2028, Istanbul Airport is set to become a global aviation hub bringing in 100 airlines and flights to 300 destinations worldwide.

The airline reached full capacity shortly after moving to the mega-airport, while Ataturk Airport fell short of responding to Turkish Airlines' need for more slots and capacity owing to constraints such as runway insufficiency. Now, however, it has a larger operational space thanks to Istanbul airport.

'The third runway to open at Istanbul airport in 2020 will ease the traffic density,' Mr Ayci said.

When the third runway goes live, it will be possible to do an aircraft landing and take-off every 43 seconds, or 2,000 planes a day.

By the end of 2019, the airline had 351 aircraft, including 98 wide-body, 229 narrow-body, and 24 cargo planes, up from 332 at the beginning of the year.

Mr Ayci added that 28 more aircraft will be added to the fleet in 2020, stressing that the company is open to rental options.

Despite having to ground Boeing 737 Max aircraft and the delay in the delivery of A321 Neo aircraft, Turkish Airlines posted a 2.7 per cent increase in its capacity in January-November 2019.

This came although 'we were unable to use 12 planes in our fleet, and 12 new ones were delayed,' he explained.

On December 31 Turkish Airlines announced that Boeing had agreed to compensate it for losses from the grounded and undelivered planes.

'Boeing will cover some of our losses and the revenue that we cannot generate because our grounded aircraft are not used in operations,' the carrier said in a statement.

Touching on Turkish Cargo's operations, Mr Ayci said the company kept growing even while the global air cargo sector shrank 3.5 per cent.

'Despite these unfavourable market conditions and having to carry out our cargo operations at two different airports, we posted an increase of 9.5 per cent in the cargo volume to 1.4 million tonnes,' Mr Ayci stressed.

Turkish Cargo posted an impressive US$452 million in revenue in the first three quarters.

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